MUMBAI It was Ronald Ross, born in Almora, India, in 1857, who made the path-breaking discovery that the female Anopheles mosquito is responsible for the spread of malaria. Two Indians, who hate each other despite sporting the same surname, Thackeray, have now jointly put forward a brand new theory.
Two weeks ago, Uddhav Thackeray, head of the Shiv Sena, shook the foundations of medical science with his hypothesis that migrant labourers bring malaria with them to Mumbai. He then went on to ask for a check on the influx of migrants to the metropolis, a pet Sena theme for some decades now.
Last week, Uddhav’s estranged cousin, Raj Thackeray, president of the breakaway Sena unit Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, who has not agreed on a single thing that Uddhav has said since the split, seconded the theory. He too blamed migrants for the proliferation of malaria cases in Mumbai.
Men of science are yet to be convinced. “Out of the 430 species of Anopheles present, about 30 to 40 species can act as potential vector for transmitting malaria. I do not know of any other way that malaria can be caused,” says Dr Sanjay Oak, Dean of KEM Hospital in Mumbai.
According to sources, the Thackeray Theory of Malaria Spread is a direct result of the brothers not being academically very good. “The sciences were never their strong subjects. Both joined Sir J J School of Arts,” says a source.
Meanwhile, Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad has demanded that Raj Thackeray be arrested for his remarks. “The whole world knows the cause of malaria is the mosquito, except Raj Thackeray,” he said. “How can migrants cause malaria?” It’s a good question, even if it comes from Lalu.